Alexander Rossi to Arrow McLaren SP?by Jack Gaffney April 16, 2022 1 comment
Former Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi is this IndyCar season’s top pending free agent. The current Andretti Autosport has currently in the middle of a Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2008-2012-esque dry spell, but the talent has always been undeniable. With all of that said, a change of scenery could be for the best for all involved parties, and Rossi may have taken that liberty. Jenna Fryer of the AP, in a piece released last night regarding Pato O’Ward, revealed that Rossi has allegedly signed on with the Arrow McLaren SP team. She also goes on to say there are “conflicting answers from all parties” regarding said rumor. Now if this is true, what does it mean for Rossi, and his current and potential future team moving forward?
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For Andretti Autosport
Losing out on Rossi is certainly a loss for Michael Andretti’s team, but it isn’t like they are starving for talent. Even without Rossi, they still will have Romain Grosjean and Colton Herta for sure next year as full-time drivers. At least until Herta skips town for F1, the Andretti IndyCar program is in more than good hands. Not to mention Andretti has a four-driver Indy Lights program at the moment. This includes current points leader and three-time Stadium Super Trucks Champion, Matthew Brabham. In short, they should be fine for the long haul.
For Arrow McLaren SP
It doesn’t seem like a secret that Zak Brown is in it to win it with McLaren in both Formula 1 and IndyCar. Although the results haven’t been there yet on either side of the pond, the talent both teams have great tandems of drivers. O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist both picked up season-best finishes at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach last weekend. Furthermore, they should continue to push into the top 10 in the points, and for O’Ward, hopefully, title contention.
Adding Rossi to the mix here is about as good as it gets. Especially considering O’Ward is adamant about making the jump to Formula One despite being locked up in IndyCar through 2024. If he does bail early, Rossi is one heck of a failsafe option to keep the team at two cars for the foreseeable future. If not that would be an elite three-driver stable.
The biggest reason why Rossi would, and quite frankly should make this move is simply for a change of scenery. In his opening 50 races of his IndyCar career (all with Andretti) here is how he did from 2016 to 2018. A total of five wins, 12 podium finishes, four poles, 537 laps led, and an average finish of exactly ninth. Now from 2019 to last weekend in Long Beach for his most recent 50 races. Rossi had two wins (both in 2019), 13 podiums (12 from 2019 and 2020), two poles (both in 2019, 277 laps led, and an average finish of 12.275.
Really in just about any sport, sometimes you need something different to get back on the right path. Not that Rossi or Andretti have been bad in that span, quite the opposite. A comedic amount of bad luck has a lot to do with the dip in production as of late for the former Indianapolis 500 winner. Getting with a new group of people and car may be the best thing that Rossi can do for himself. We all know when he is on top of things, he is one of IndyCar’s absolute best. Safe to say the McLaren folks know that, they wouldn’t be (allegedly) interested otherwise.
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